Our entire national security machinery has devolved into extremely dangerous self-parody over the issue of Syria:
We have a flim-flamming President (…”it wasn’t ME who drew a red line…”) who, after beating his chest and telling Assad he was going to get a spanking, suddenly changed his mind and decided to seek political cover from Congress.
We have a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs who is understandably concerned about the slow-motion telegraphing of our nation’s intentions to our next apparent target. Meanwhile, is anyone else more than a little concerned he doesn’t seem to have heard a clear objective statement from the Administration?
We have a military and intelligence community that is still, a dozen years later, killing Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan (and who knows where else), while simultaneously arming their ideological fellow travelers in Libya, Egypt, and now Syria. This might have something to do with the Joint Chiefs not really knowing what the heck we’re trying to accomplish.
We have a Secretary of State musing about boots on the ground, realizing his faux pas then backpedaling, all while telling the American people everything’s hunky dory because “the Arabs have offered to carry the cost.” (Really? So no American troops will die, right?)
We have a Homeland Security apparatus trying to identify any potential Syrian or Iranian agents in the U.S. who might be posed for retaliatory action, should the shooting begin (a very real threat that has so far seen little discussion, from what I’ve observed). This should be reassuring, since that same apparatus was so effective in preventing the shootings at Fort Hood, or acting on Russian tips to stop those planning the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Oh… wait…
And to top it off, we have Congress. A Congress that hasn’t met its Constitutional obligation to pass an annual budget for nearly four and a half years. A Congress that hasn’t met its Constitutional obligation to vote up or down on a Declaration of War in SEVENTY years. A Congress that has more than enough authority to reign in a host of three-letter Executive Branch agencies run amok (IRS, FBI, NSA, CIA, ATF…), but refuses to exercise it. A Congress that likes to call itself the ‘world’s greatest deliberative body,’ but in practice hands most of the important stuff to groups called things like “The Gang of 8” while the rest preen for reelection and enjoy their perks.
All of this provides plenty of fodder for the late-night comedians. As for me, I’d love to laugh at all these fools, but there’s nothing funny about the course they’ve set. Every nation has its share of bumbling would-be statesmen, but we seem to have a disproportionally large number this generation. What’s worse, they hold the keys to machinery that affects the entire world.
…and we seem content to allow them to drive that world to war…